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Twelve Schools Cited For Suspect Test Results

District officials have asked 12 public and public charter schools with irregularities in their 2009 DC-CAS standardized test results to conduct internal investigations.

That little news nugget was tucked into the seventh paragraph of a joint statement by Mayor Adrian M. Fenty and State Superintendent of Education Kerri Briggs--released shortly after 6 p.m. Monday--announcing "improved and strengthened test integrity measures" that will be in place for the 2010 exams in March.

Fenty and Briggs said the names of the schools would not be released during the ongoing investigations.

The new test protocols--which include training for exam administrators--come after disclosure in September that Briggs' predecessor, Deborah Gist, had commissioned an investigation into the 2008 DC-CAS results at 26 public and public charter schools where reading and math proficiency increased markedly. That inquiry was based on "anomalies" discovered during an analysis of incorrect student answers that were erased and changed to correct answers.

CTB-McGraw-Hill, the firm that published the test and also conducted the erasure analysis, characterized the results of the analysis as "inconclusive." Gist nevertheless asked the schools in question to conduct their own investigations. Some did, but DCPS, despite two requests from Gist's office, did not. When Briggs took over in April, she informed DCPS that the probe wasn't necessary because the erasure analysis was inconclusive.

Monday's announcement said that the 12 schools targeted for their 2009 results were identified on the basis of erasure analyses and two other criteria: growth in test scores and "item pattern analysis," a statistical method of detecting excessive similarities in answers on multiple choice exams.

Schools that showed irregularities on two of the three criteria must conduct internal investigations and report back to Briggs' office by March 1.

Asked why parents aren't entitled to know that their schools are investigating problems on the DC-CAS, Chad Colby, Briggs' deputy chief of staff, said the schools are free to inform parents. But he said the state superintendent's office will name the schools only if the allegations are proven.

Bill Turque

By Bill Turque  |  November 24, 2009; 11:36 AM ET
Categories:  Bill Turque,Education  
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Bill, thank you for staying on top of this story. Ever since the "Texas Miracle," school leaders have discovered that they can game the system with test scores and then declare "miracles." Many of these "miracle workers" then become famous as school "reformers." As with most frauds, these attempts to fool the public wreak havoc on our most vulnerable citizens, in this case, our children. Also, these "miracle" test scores are being used to "reform" American education, so they are having an especially insidious effect on the nation's public schools. I also appreciate the efforts of State Superintendent of Education Kerri Briggs for insisting on "improved and strengthened test integrity measures." She must be under tremendous political pressure to turn a blind eye to test irregularities. She is in a position to give authentic help to the children of DC by ensuring truth and fairness in testing. Citizens and parents have a right to know exactly how much these students are learning.

Posted by: Linda/RetiredTeacher | November 24, 2009 12:41 PM | Report abuse

i think all schools in dcps should be investigated with respect to their test score results.

Posted by: stayone | November 24, 2009 12:47 PM | Report abuse

Great Job fighting this K. Briggs. I for one, would be pissed had this happened in my child's classroom - regardless of who made the actual changes.

Posted by: missboo | November 24, 2009 1:03 PM | Report abuse

The schools should be named. It is public information and Rhee should not be allowed to do a cover up if she decides to protect a principal whom she likes. Unfortunately, Rhee has proven herself as dishonest and it is she who created the pressure that has made some schools cheat to begin with.


Posted by: southyrndiva | November 24, 2009 1:17 PM | Report abuse

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